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Wild West Tour from Lake Tahoe with Train Ride

California, United States
Book online or call: (888) 651-9785(888) 651-9785

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icon7 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English


Go back in time to the old Wild West on this tour from South Lake Tahoe to Virginia City, Nevada, including a train ride on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. With a guide, you’ll start your day trip by minibus, driving along part of the Pony Express. When you reach Virginia City, a National Historic Landmark District, take a 6.5-mile round-trip train ride before enjoying free time in town to explore at your leisure, perhaps visiting museums or a historical saloon.
  • Travel along part of the Pony Express trail to Nevada’s oldest city
  • Take a ride on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad
  • Visit museums and historic mansions, if you wish (own expense)
  • Learn about the region’s geology, history and wildlife from a knowledgeable guide
Your day trip begins as you depart South Lake Tahoe with your driver/guide by minibus, with seats that recline and large windows that provide views of the mountain scenery during the approximate 90-minute drive across the state line to Virginia City, Nevada.

During the drive, which passes through Carson City, Nevada’s state capital, listen to commentary from your guide about the area’s local animal life, plant life, geology and mining history during the days of the Wild West. Travel along a portion of the old Pony Express, the route from the 1860s that transported mail across the United States, before arriving in Virginia City, which began when the country’s first major silver deposit was discovered.

Hop off the minibus at the Virginia & Truckee Railroad station for your 6.5-mile (10.5-km) round-trip train ride that takes you to the town of Gold Hill and back. During the journey, learn about the history of the railroad, which dates back to 1869. After your train ride, you have about 2.5 hours of free time in Virginia City to spend at your leisure. Explore the historic district, listed on the US National Register of Historic Places, and admire 19th-century buildings that line Main Street like the opera house and historical saloons like the St. Mary in the Mountains Catholic Church. Perhaps check out a museum or two, such as The Way It Was Museum or Mark Twain Museum, or have lunch at a local eatery, such as the Delta Saloon. (All entrance fees, food and drinks are at your own expense.)

At the end of your free time, re-board the minibus for the return drive to South Lake Tahoe, where your day trip ends.
Stop At:  
Virginia & Truckee Railroad
7 mile train ride from Virginia City to Gold Hill and back.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Comstock Lode
Comstock Lode - Silver City, Gold Hill, Virginia City
Duration: 3 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Virginia City Visitor Center
On C street
Duration: 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
The Delta Saloon
Great place for lunch and refreshments
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
The Way It Was Museum
Recommended museum by Discover Lake Tahoe Tours
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
St. Mary in the Mountains Catholic Church
Must see...
Duration: 20 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Pass By:  
Genoa Bar
Oldest bar in Nevada
Admission Ticket Free

Traveler Photos


47 Reviews
5 stars
4 stars
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1 star
Reviews by Viator travelers
Nothing Special
Liz L
, Oct 2019
The place seemed kind of run down; it was disappointing. I was expecting something nicer with more character. But if you're looking to spend a few hours and have lunch, it's OK. The train ride was simply 3 miles one way and back again. If you're interested in mining history the train is fine, but other than that I would recommend taking the trolley instead--you get to see more.
Not your normal locomotive
, Sep 2019
This 35 minute train ride was both educational and informational. It takes place high atop one of the the mountains of the Sierra Nevadas. Quite a bit of mining history and scenic views. This tour allows over two hours of free time to explore the eats ,treats, and unique shops along Main Street. Our tour guide was friendly, knowledgeable and suggested places to explore and where to have lunch.
Informative Tour
David H
, Aug 2019
Tour guide was very knowledgeable and gave us a lot of info about the area, the history, and Nevada facts. Only down side to his presentation was he named places and people like you should know who or where they were, and we live a thousand miles away. He also repeated himself a lot. Great to not have to drive and be able to view the scenery without worry.
icon Response from Host , Aug 2019
Thank you for writing a review and glad you enjoyed it. I'll pass your remarks on to the driver
big mistake
, Aug 2019
Bought my tickets from viator. Never mentioned the itinerary, only pick-up time and place. Driver of bus never shut-up. He repeats himself constantly. Talked about wild mustangs at least 8 times. After the joke of a train ride we were taken to Virginia City and were stuck there for 2 and 1/2 hours. Didn't get back to Tahoe until 3:30. TOOK ALL DAY!
icon Response from Host , Aug 2019
In behalf of Discover Lake Tahoe Tours, I'm sorry about your unpleasant experience with us. Obviously, I have to reach out to Viator to better inform guests of the itinerary. I'm a bit confused regarding driver taking.., this tour is listed as narrated tour and guests in the past loved it ( read reviews ) also in regards to being stuck there for 2 1/2 hours, the only complaint I usually get is that there isn't enough time. Thank you.
Nice scenic tour
, Aug 2019
This little tour into Nevada provided a nice break away from Lake Tahoe for a day. The coach was very comfortable. The driver was very knowledgable and friendly. There was a lot of information about the Pony Express and Gold Rush. The train ride in Virginia City was good but a little short - the conductor was brilliant with some very funny commentry. We had lots of free time to explore Virginia City before heading back to Tahoe via a drive through Carson City.
icon Response from Host , Aug 2019
Thank you so much for taking your time for writing a review. Also, I'm so happy you enjoyed the tour. Again, thank you
Van and Train Ride
, Jul 2019
I learned so much from this tour! First on the van ride we had a very informative driver. He took us to many historical places on the way to Virginia City. The train ride was really fun and the steam engine was working that day, too. I learned even more information about the mining and old western towns. We went on the 4th of July so also saw a great parade in Virginia City.
Great Bus driver - told all about what...
, Oct 2017
Great Bus driver - told all about what we saw. Great Train conductor. Relaxing, delightful.
The tour was interesting and the...
Mary E
, Oct 2017
The tour was interesting and the tour guide was very knowledgeable about the South Lake Tahoe area and the history surrounding it. The train ride in Virginia City was only 35 minutes and the train volunteer talked about the mines and the overall history of Virginia City. All in all the tour was relaxing and fun. We had 2-1/2 hours to eat lunch, shop and explore Virginia City on our own before boarding the tour van back to South Lake Tahoe. I would highly recommend this tour for anyone new to the area and first time visitors.
Guide on bus was !Train ride was...
, Sep 2017
Guide on bus was !Train ride was very short. Would have enjoyed more information on what to see in Virginia City, rather than being dropped in shopping area.
Enjoyed going back in time and...
Sharon S
, Sep 2017
Enjoyed going back in time and visiting what it would have been like during the Gold Rush days. Virginia City is small quaint western town with several good restaurants and lots of unique shopping stores. Also enjoyed hearing the history of the area from Lake Tahoe to Virginia City. The train ride is short but gives you the true flavor of the past which was very enjoyable. Visited Carson City and saw some historical sites there as well. I would recommend this trip to anyone visiting the area.

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Product code: 6508WILDWEST

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